He’s for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps.

Is this true? If so, there’s a level of intimacy here in Hamlet’s knowledge of Polonius’ taste. It makes me wonder about all the years previous to the play. How many performances have Hamlet and Polonius watched together? All of them? Did Hamlet the pre-teen laugh at Polonius snoring through Andromache? Did Hamlet the student roll his eyes as Polonius guffawed at a dirty joke or a silly dance? It might be slightly embarrassing watching a bawdy story with your girlfriend’s dad.

Of course, I’m not convinced that this is true of Polonius. He seems quite enamored of his role as Julius Caesar and there’s a level of dignity that he has (or aspires to have, depending on the production) that doesn’t seem to square with jigs or tales of bawdry.


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